Black leaders unsurprised by DOJ findings into Louisville Metro Police

Jamie Lane of Louisville's Kula Gallery organized a community coalition for businesses trying...
Jamie Lane of Louisville's Kula Gallery organized a community coalition for businesses trying to clean up after several nights of protests.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 4:04 PM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The U.S. Department of Justice’s recent report outlined problems they found within the Louisville Metro Police Department.

One of the most glaring problems was its discriminatory practices toward Black people.

“This report validates much of what Black communities have been saying for decades,” Jemar Tisby said.

Tisby is a history professor at Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically Black college in downtown Louisville.

He said it’s a cause rooted in hundreds of years of history, though at the same time, it’s easy to spot at the surface.

Congregation members at the predominantly Black Bates Memorial Baptist Church said they were less than surprised by the DOJ’s findings.

“They heard exactly what they have been experiencing as a community,” Bates Pastor F. Bruce Williams said, “and we have experienced as a people forever.”

Williams and Tisby agree: this isn’t new information. It’s not information they’re even asking for. It’s imagination.

“You’ll hear a lot of talk around re-imagining public safety,” Tisby said, “and I think that’s right on.”

Tisby said though he’s a professor of history, what’s happening now right before his mostly students’ eyes, he’ll need to take class time to address.

“I think it’s just the responsible thing to do,” he said. “Our students undoubtedly have heard of the report, are trying to make sense of it.”

The report from the DOJ lists a number of suggestions for Louisville Metro Government, but the question remains whether it’ll result in tangible change, which is what Pastor Williams is asking for.

“Now that you know what we’ve been telling you all along,” he said, “what are you going to do now?”

Louisville Metro police have made a number of changes since the police killing of Breonna Taylor in 2020, including the ban of no-knock warrants.

The DOJ acknowledged there has been at least some effort in making substantive changes.